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North Korean Catholics will not be attending Papal Mass in South Korea

North Korean Catholics will not be attending the Pope's Mass in South Korea. Though it was believed that a group of North Korean Catholics would go across the border to attend the Pope's Mass in Seoul, the invitation has apparently been denied.  Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass of Reconciliation on the final day of his apostolic visit to South Korea in the Myeondong Cathedral.  However, the day of the Mass coincides with a joint South Korean-US military drill, which  North Korea "condemned as a rehearsal for nuclear war.â? A letter sent by the North Korean Catholic Association stated that: "Under these circumstances, going to Seoul would be an agonizing step.â? Although the Catholic Church is not straight out banned in North Korea, a recent report by the UN stated that religious believers are severely persecuted in the country. By contrast, the rate of Catholics in South Korea, has seen a sharp rise in the last decade.  The Pope's visit will take place from August 14th to the 18th.  JAE -RR FA PR Up: PM